I still remember the first day I entered the world of financial markets. I was driven and excited to learn about something completely new. I’d found an arena of opportunity that I wanted to play in for the rest of my life. I’d read countless success stories of traders making millions. At the same time, I was all too aware of the many millions who had lost. Undeterred, I was hooked, and there was no looking back.
Perhaps this resonates with what first caught your interest in the markets. For many, the chance of being responsible for your own finances is the only way forward. A primary income derived solely from the markets (when successfully executed) is a job like no other. For others, a secondary income also meets the needs of many with full-time jobs or those that are retired.
Whatever your goals may be, the end result is often the same:
To make money consistently.
It’s for this reason I decided to share a short story on some of the lessons I’ve learnt over the years; the emotions, the failures; the successes, and more importantly:
What I wish I knew prior to trading
You’re excited. You’ve found a new world and a new way to make money. The place where if you really make it, you can escape the boundaries of your daily job. You can live life your way, and provide for your family and loved ones without relying on someone else.
Deep within you want to succeed. But you have doubts as to whether you can actually make a living trading the market. You’ve got thoughts of what life can be like, and the amount of money you can make. You may or may not understand what’s at risk, but that’s not obvious right now. All you can think of is what you can make.
Believe me when I say be prepared to make A LOT of sacrifices. And be prepared to work damn hard because if you want it, it won’t come easy; and it will come at a cost. Those costs will be education and time. Some people will get it quickly. Some will take years.
The ones that move quickly are those that can break things and move on. They make quick decisions. I’m not referring to mathematicians or high-frequency scalpers, but rather those that DO NOT sit and dwell. They think on their toes and have a systematic approach to trading.
Eventually, there will come a point where something will click. And then another thing clicks, and another, and so on. Until finally the penny drops and you find an edge; or solution to whatever problem(s) you’re facing. Your learning curve goes exponential as you develop new strategies, new techniques, and new ways of thinking through things at a much quicker pace.
And just when you think you have it all figured out, the market beats you down and makes you re-evaluate much of what you know.
Many professional traders go through this learning curve. For some, it’s the baptism of fire that ignites the flame for them to propel forward.
Throughout your career, there will be times you will struggle. You’ll go through periods of drawdown, and perhaps lose more than you anticipated. You’ll take time off and consider whether this industry is really for you. Disappointment, disbelief and doubt will cloud your judgement. Each time you get smacked, doubt will creep in again. During these times don’t forget to take care of your most important weapon – YOU. It’s been said before that your health is your wealth, so take care of yourself. The markets won’t always be fun, but I guarantee you that the markets will always be a fantastic challenge.
And so you start again. You review what you did wrong. You spend plenty of time going through all your trades. Looking at what the successful trades had in common, and more importantly what losses had in common. And you push through yet another boundary. It is all a learning process, learning about what works for you in the markets.
Building systems is a very good way to understand this. I’m not here to tell you every professional trader has a system (or multiple), a strategy and a positive expectancy. Many of you know this already. I’m simply asking the question – if you do not have all of the above, why are you trading???
Whether it’s your first day in the markets or your 20th year, we can all agree on one thing – professionals never stop learning. Whether we are 1 lot traders or 50 lot traders, we are all here to make a day’s pay, preserve capital, continue to learn, and most importantly take care of our families.
If 2015 has been a year to remember for all the right reasons then congratulations and keep moving forward. If however, you didn’t achieve the returns you were looking for, or take your trading to the level you wanted, it’s time to look in the mirror and face facts. The earlier you do this in your career the better off you will be.
The easiest way to do this is to find a mentor, coach or trader you can relate to and speak to about your trading. Had I known this magical piece of advice years ago, I would have ventured on a very different and more profitable path. Find someone who can help you get to where you want to be. Find a community that offers the support you require to take you to that next step.
Make sure that the people you engage with actually trade and make money – what you don’t want is for a room full of unsuccessful traders teaching each other to trade, this does not end well.
This alone will go a long way towards defining your career in the markets. If you don’t believe me, break it down for yourself:
It’s estimated that 90% of traders consistently lose money in the market. Of the 10% who are profitable, many are taught in banks and large investment firms. On top of this – other profitable traders are often taught by professional traders. So taking all this into account- what percentage of traders learn to be successful completely on their own?? Very very little, if any.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, talking about your results and trading with a mentor who is a professional trader will help you immensely. Some problems can be too big to take on alone, and speaking to other professionals who have been through it is an opportunity every trader should take on. All I will say is this: the quicker you can accept your failures, the quicker you will learn to move forward. A professional trader, mentor or coach will often help identify your failures quicker than you can, period.
Finally – when you do achieve the consistency you’ll realise the more successful you are the more people will want from you. Helping others is a generous act but remember the cost and commitment involved in getting there. Winning trades are your reward, but the journey and sacrifices you made are your true reward.
On behalf of everyone here at Trade View, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.
2015 has been a fantastic year for us, and we look forward to an even bigger and better 2016!
Elay Ghaly – Trader
Phone: +613 9018 5438